I recently heard that Graham Hancock has made a series for Netflix. In case you’ve never heard of Hancock, the man is an arch-charlatan who has been peddling nonsense for decades about a prehistoric super-civilisation wiped out by a cataclysm 12,000 years ago.
As soon as I heard about this, I decided to write a post on it. I had picked out what I thought was a great title (Nutflix) but unfortunately, when I checked on Google to see if anyone else had used this, I find that a site exists under this title which is a purveyor of adult movies. This is not the kind of movie I enjoy watching, though given the choice between sitting through a tale of young Scandinavian women whose heating is stuck on full so that they have to take all their clothes off and phone the plumber or watching Hancock’s pretentious self-serving drivel, I think I would probably watch the porn. At least it’s aimed at adults, which is more than you can say for Hancock’s pseudo-archaeological bullcrap.
Why do I hate Hancock so much? Well, there is the fact that his theories are completely lacking in evidence. That he spends a lot of his time whining about the way the mainstream archaeological community (that is, the REAL archaeological community) have sidelined him and refused to take him seriously. Perhaps he genuinely believes some of this nonsense, though the cynic in me keeps saying that at some point in his life, he was probably faced with the choice between carrying on in a legitimate career as a journalist or listening to his bad angel telling him that lashings of money, foreign travel to exotic locations and the adulation of millions of morons could be his if he would just write some books aimed at the weak-minded and conspiracy-oriented.
Maybe that’s an offensive speculation but as Hancock and his friends would say, I’m just asking questions. Because according to him and his sheeple, the archaeological community have stopped asking questions. They’re afraid to get their paradigms all shook up, apparently. The reality is, of course, that the archaeological community ask sensible questions and shift their paradigms all the time. When archaeologists find a wall, they ask questions like, who built this wall? When? Why? Is it part of a larger structure? They don’t ask questions like: “Could this wall be part of an ancient factory used by an advanced super-civilisation which was otherwise completely eradicated?” Their refusal to ask such questions is, apparently, evidence of their closed-mindedness and lack of imagination. Whatever.
Another reason for regarding Hancock as a humungous dork is the way that he changes his mind about key aspects of his theory. Now, that might seem inconsistent, because people like me will always say that the difference between science and pseudoscience is that scientists will change their views according to the evidence. However, the problem with Hancock is that though the details and the ‘evidence’ (such as it is) change, the conclusions don’t. That’s because the conclusions were there first and the ‘facts’ are merely cherry-picked to bolster them.
And that’s also why the ‘evidence’ is so incredibly marginal and unimpressive. A rock carving, interpreted in a particular way, might mean this. The dating on this or that ancient monument might be wrong, even though the experts say not (what would they know, they’re working for THE MAN!) What we don’t get is anomalous technology cropping up unambiguously in a hunter-gatherer context. If we found a sophisticated pot in a camp from fourteen thousand years ago, that would be clear evidence. Something requiring a paradigm shift. Or what about a pre-Columbian skeleton with European or African DNA? Or an actual city belonging to this lost ancient culture? If Hancock’s theories were correct, the evidence would be everywhere and it would be obvious.
Anyway, I’ve said more than I intended to say and given Hancock more attention than this pathetic, boring (and probably very rich) little man deserves.
If you want to know more about pseudo-archaeology and why it is not to be trusted, I suggest you check out the excellent YouTube material by Dr David Miano: